How to keep air out of your baby's bottle

by Laura Sussely-Pope

Baby BottleBurping, farting, crying and restarting at every meal? The fussing and leg-kicking your bottle-fed baby does might not be just a bad attitude.

Maybe it's in the air -- the air in the bottle, that is!

When air bubbles get trapped in your baby's tummy, you know it. They can lead to tummy aches and crying.

If you reduce the amount of air your baby takes in during feedings, you'll lessen discomfort and gas-related fussiness. You'll both be happier!

How to keep air out of baby's bottle

These simple steps can eliminate air bubbles from bottles.

Filling the bottle

Expressed breast milk: Pour the milk gently into the bottle to avoid trapping bubbles in the liquid. If you warm it, swirl gently instead of shaking the bottle.

Formula: Stir powdered formula and water together and then pour gently into the bottle instead of shaking in the bottle. A vigorous shake can dissolve air bubbles in the milk that might not disperse before your baby drinks the liquid.

Nipple size and flow

Make sure the nipple you're using is the right size and has an appropriate sized hole. You may have to change them fairly often.

If milk flows too quickly, your baby may choke and gasp in air. If it comes out too slowly, they're apt to end up swallowing a lot of air.

You can easily check the flow rate. Turn the bottle upside down. About one drop of milk should come through the hole per second.

Positioning the bottle

Hold your baby's bottle at about a 45-degree angle. You want the milk to be covering the nipple entrance entirely. Don't hold it horizontally so you have a gap of air escaping towards the nipple.

During the feeding, change the bottle's position to keep milk in contact with the nipple opening. Your baby will be less likely to swallow air when you ensure that the nipple remains full of milk throughout the feeding.

"I wish there was a bottle that would mimic the breast. Jonah isn't gassy when he nurses. Using the bottle is another story!" Jennifer says.

Companies, with this same goal in mind, have designed bottles with features such as air-reduction vents of air-minimizing shapes.

"Now, I use bottles with disposable liners. They deflate and eliminate air pockets and my little guy seems happier," Shelly says.

If your baby gets a lot of air during feeds, experiment with a few designs until you find the one that works best for you.

Watch for hunger signs

Just a few years ago, bottle-fed babies adhered to a strict schedule, like it or not. Now experts recommend that all babies, breast-fed and formula-fed, eat when they're hungry.

That's good news for moms. A ravished baby will gulp. Watch for hunger signals and offer a bottle before your baby thinks starvation has kicked in. They're more likely to eat slowly and less likely to suck in air with the milk.

"I heard once that warm milk is better than cold about not trapping air...but that might be lot of hoo-haa," Joee admits.

What worked or didn't work to keep the air out and allow your baby to feed more comfortably?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.